What a magnificent time we live in, when who and what we care about calls on us to show up, and speak up for caring for it. I was unable to attend the Women’s March due to recent foot surgery, but I did not accept I could not somehow show my support. And so I funded 2 single mothers who would otherwise been unable to afford to travel to DC for the Women’s March there. I’m also the proud mom of a daughter and a son who marched in the NYC March, having grown up to the tune of “what you care about needs you to care for it with your actions”. My daughter sent me pictures (above) as she marched along, taking me with her in spirit. My son, not one to protest lightly- ”I’m not a protesting former hippy like you Mom”- felt strongly that too much is at risk for him to not show up. (Here’s an interesting article which speaks to how he feels as a man who loves the many women in his life: http://www.vox.com/identities/2017/1/22/14347710/men-womens-march)
The leadership model women are unfurling is one of standing up for how the least of us, the most vulnerable of us, is cared for. Leadership which honors how ALL life is sacred, even that life for which we do not see a purpose, have use for, or kinship with. Women’s leadership seeks BOTH to understand “the other” AND draws lines in the sand of what will not happen on her watch. Going to war for peace is violence we condone until we seek to understand what scares us vs trying to negate, control, or kill what scares us. Women’s leadership cannot simply change who is empowered but how power is wielded and who it serves.
However you are showing up for women’s rights, for gender rights, for immigration rights, we need to “+1” what we are doing. I’ve contributed to Planned Parenthood since I was 16 years old, having gone to the local office for birth control. Their required exam before dispensing birth control found several lumps in a breast which turned out to be benign after a biopsy was done. Even at the young age of 16 I was impressed at their standard of care for a 16 year old and have donated to them ever since. Now I need to do more. So once a week I’m calling my congressional representatives (which includes Elizabeth Warren-woohoo!) to let them know I am opposed to any attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. Period.
This time of globalization is not simply an economic model affecting so many in challenging economic ways. Globalization is also the dynamic by which we are becoming much more aware of others- of those who look, think, choose differently than we do. Honoring all life as sacred is the consciousness globalization requires of us, a consciousness requiring we learn how to form relationship with “the other”. And lest you go too quickly to thinking it’s only men who need to learn to do so, consider the challenge for constructive dialogue and partnership between women pro-life and pro-choice. ‘An issue which polarized the organizing of last Saturday’s Women’s Marches, showing us we all have work to do in seeking to understand “the other”.
I leave you with these thoughts:
- Keep vigilance that your thoughts and actions align with your deepest values and dreams. Show up more for tending to what you care about; it’s time for you to act, not simply talk and think.
- Find your news in places different than mainstream television venues. Your computer screen offers you a plethora of less-reactive, thoughtful, and diverse perspectives from sources both national and international. And receive what you read on social media with a grain of salt, for all is not as it appears on your computer or phone screen, not only the telly.
- Become pro-active with what you care about. Become inspired by your anger at injustice, discrimination, and abuse, but not reacting in kind by “going to war for peace” against others who anger you.
- Embrace relationship as the form of power you exercise more than believing control will keep you safe-it won’t. Only through seeking to understand each other-and yourself-can we successfully engage the world’s changes in this time of globalization and instant news.
- Your power, your impact lies in how you respond to what triggers you, what provokes you. Do you “return fire” or do you change the game by how you respond? To do so requires becoming more neutral- which does not mean not feeling passionately- in how you respond to what provokes you. Triggering another’s defensiveness (and thus aggression) will only energize conflict, reduce trust, and challenge finding a common ground for working things out.
- Become friends with paradox as real life more than your mind’s straight line of logic. Paradox is both caring deeply about what you do and seeking to understand those you disagree with. Your mind may tell you this is a fool’s game, but your soul and spirit know it’s the only game that will succeed in these times of change and challenge.
It is a radical time to be alive and your presence in these challenging times is neither random nor insignificant. Your presence in the lives you cross paths with-both pleasantly and not so much-has impact and importance for you both. Your actions and choices have impact on the health and well-being of the ecology of your personal life and your communities. You were born for these times, and although your mind may feel confused or fearful, your spirit and soul do not. Yes, you will need to learn some history and consider changing some of your beliefs and habits. And you won’t always be comfortable becoming more engaged for what you care about. Yet as I shared in my latest Blogtalkradio show, sometimes what makes you uncomfortable now is where in time you will see the footprints of your soul.
When you live as though you truly matter and your presence in the lives of others matters, your experience of life will change. We’ve been taught to under-value the power of the choices we make and the actions we take every day for how we create our life and the world. Getting to know not only your thoughts, but the vast capacity of your soul and spirit is now required. And, what challenges you is always within your capacity, if you but use not only your mind but your spirit, soul, and the heart of yourself as well!